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Review of the Zipwall Dust Barrier System

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Matt is a professional painter who owns and operates his own painting business, specializing in interior and exterior house painting.

The Zipwall system in action

The Zipwall system in action

Controlling Dust and Over-Spray

Sanding and spray painting indoors can make a huge mess if you don't take measures to separate the work area from the rest of your home. The best way to control dust and paint over-spray is to erect a plastic barrier to contain it. But what's the best way to do that?

Taping Plastic to the Ceiling

In the past, I would erect a dust barrier by taping plastic from the ceiling to the floor, and while this method can work, the tape and plastic is more likely to fall down from airflow suction, and heavier plastic usually won't stay up with tape alone. Another problem is the tape can peel paint off the ceiling when you remove it, and then you have to repair the drywall and do touch-ups. The best way to set up a secure plastic barrier that won't fall down is with telescoping poles.

Using the Zipwall Dust Barrier System

I use 12-foot Zipwall poles to set up a plastic dust barrier whenever I'm sanding and spray painting cabinets indoors. I also use the same set up for my spray booth and when I need to sand large drywall repair patches indoors. This enables me to completely separate the work area and prevent dust from migrating into adjacent rooms without having to tape plastic to the ceiling. I also set up a fan to help exhaust the sanding dust and paint VOCs out an open window.

Overall, I remain very satisfied with the Zipwall system I bought after using it for drywall sanding and multiple spray painting projects. The telescoping extension poles keep the plastic in place without having to play around with tape. This product isn't perfect though, and I'll explain what I like and dislike about it.

The Zipwall dust barrier system helps contain dust and paint over-spray indoors.

The Zipwall dust barrier system helps contain dust and paint over-spray indoors.

How Does the Zipwall System Work?

I bought a set of four 12-foot poles, which included a canvas carrying case, two zippers with metal hooks to hold the zipped up door open, and extra rubber pads for the pole bottoms. The rubber pads for the pole bottoms protect your floor and also help prevent the poles from sliding and falling over from heavy air suction.

The extension poles unlock and extend by twisting them, similar to a painting pole. The poles are sturdy and don't come loose until the locking mechanism is twisted. After using these poles multiple times, none of the twist locks have ever broken or come undone.

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The provided plastic pads and clamps attach to the top of each pole, and these are for keeping the plastic in place. You basically sandwich the plastic between the top of the pole and the pad, and the top side of the pads that secure the plastic is covered with soft rubber to prevent marking up your ceiling.

Is Setting Up Zipwall Dust Barrier Walls Easy?

Setting up a Zipwall is easy. The first time I used mine it took me a little time to get it right, but it isn't difficult. Once your plastic is secured to the pole tops, you simply extend the poles to the ceiling and secure them by twisting the locking mechanism on the pole.

The best part of using Zipwall dust barrier walls is you don't have to use a step ladder unless you want to tape the plastic to the ceiling too. The key is to space apart the poles in such a way that it keeps the plastic tight all the way across. If you space the poles too far apart, or don't pull the plastic tight, the plastic will sag along the ceiling and allow dust to escape. If the plastic sags a little, you can use a few pieces of low-tack tape to secure it to the ceiling.

I recommend using thicker plastic for a dust barrier. I use 4 mil plastic for mine, which works great. Lightweight plastic blows around too much, making it harder to stabilize without tape.

If you set up the poles right, with the plastic tight along the walls and ceiling, you won't have to use tape along the plastic edges unless you need an air-tight seal. The two zippers that came with the poles work great. To make a zipper door, you simply attach the sticky side of the zipper to the plastic, unzip, and cut a slit in the plastic with a box cutter.

Is the Zipwall Dust Barrier Worth It?

The Zipwall dust barrier is definitely worth owning if you're a contractor with projects involving indoor dust and over-spray control. One of the reasons I bought this product is because I wanted the ability to erect dust barrier walls without having to stick tape all over my customers walls and ceilings. The zipper door also works a lot better than cutting a hole in the plastic or using tape.

The canvas carrying bag that comes with the poles is a nice plus, but unfortunately, the zipper on my bag broke. The bag is nice because there's plenty of room for the poles and accessories. If I had one complaint about this product, it's the price. This product has proven to be very durable after multiple uses, but I feel like the price could be lower for the basic aluminum extension poles and plastic parts you get. For the price, the parts on the poles could be made of metal instead of plastic, but overall, I'm very satisfied with this product, and since writing this review, I have purchased additional poles.

I bought a set of 12-foot poles, but you can buy a set of the 10-foot poles for less money. You can also buy a set of only two poles, but a set of four is more versatile and makes it possible to set up a spray booth, or seal off a larger space. It's also cheaper to buy all of the poles you need in a set, instead of buying them separately later.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Matt G.

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